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2014 General Assembly Gets to Work

January 16, 2014

The Colorado General Assembly kicked off the 2014 legislative session last week, and our lobbying team has been hard at work reading through the dozens of bills that have already been introduced.  We will continue to monitor all the legislation considered by the General Assembly for possible impacts on the operations of Colorado’s electric co-ops.

One of the themes of the early part of the session is efforts by some lawmakers to revise or entirely repeal the provisions of SB 13-252, the bill the legislature passed last year that doubled the electric co-op renewable energy standard (RES). While CREA opposed SB 13-252, we did not oppose the idea of increasing the RES from 10% to some higher standard, so long as we were involved in a legitimate stakeholder process where our ideas and concerns could be addressed. Unfortunately, that did not occur last year.

In fact, one bill to repeal the increased RES, SB 14-035, was heard in committee yesterday and defeated on a party line vote. We did not testify in support of SB 14-035 since we are not in favor of a wholesale repeal of SB 13-252. However, during the hearing on the bill, some witnesses testified that it wasn’t necessary because the SB 13-252 advisory committee appointed by the Governor determined last summer that the requirements of the bill could be met. Of course, the committee also voted 8-4 to make changes to SB 13-252 to mitigate its impacts on consumers, but the ground rules of the committee required a unanimous vote for any recommendations to be adopted. 

There are several other bills that will be heard in committee in the coming weeks that would mitigate SB 13-252, and we will have to decide whether to support or oppose those bills. While we are not seeking a repeal of SB 13-252, there are some parts of it that could be revised to simplify compliance and mitigate increased costs. We will keep a close eye on those bills and work with their sponsors and other stakeholders in our continued efforts to protect rural Colorado electricity consumers.

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